Friday, 20 December 2013

snowshoeing with a baby

(Jon pulling our little guy)

(snug as a bug)

We went snowshoeing for the first time with our little guy. The sled was actually really solid and not tippy at all, though I probably would only use it on a trail that has been packed down a bit. Cohen fell asleep pretty much the moment we put him into the sled. Instant nap. 

Also, I just feel so lucky to live beside a beautiful harbour. Such a good view.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Cohen's third teaching day

Cohen went to the elementary school yesterday for his last "teaching day" before the new year. On this visit, the kids learned about what I have to carry in our diaper bag, and about how babies have sore gums when they start to get teeth. Cohen was so happy to see all the third graders. He rolled over for them and smiled at them.

Every third grader made Cohen a Christmas card. The cards were so sweet. Cohen is pretty much a superstar when he visits his third graders. I enjoy seeing him interact with them so much.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

5 months!!

(hanging out with jon before work)

Cohen is 5 months old today. This is what has been going on with the little man lately:

- he rolls over so well that we struggle to get tummy time in. i love seeing how strong he is getting.

- he loves the bath so much. he splashes his little legs around and pushes the rubber duckies with his fists.

- he will grab anything out of our hands and try to eat it. when we play cards, he spends the whole time on jon's lap, grabbing all the cards.

- he no longer sleeps through the night. that ship has sailed. now he gets up a few times every night (around 2 am and 5 am). maybe he is growing faster than usual right now. no biggie.

- Jon and I are constantly talking about how awesome he is. We can take him to a restaurant for supper, for a long walk, to the grocery store, to a bank appointment, anywhere. He is so good wherever we go. He just seems so happy to be hanging out with us.

PS: Cohen at 16 weeks

Monday, 16 December 2013

on the weekend

We had our staff Christmas party on Friday night. Cohen had his immunizations that morning, so I didn't really want to leave him with anyone. They recommend you keep a close eye on your baby for 24 hours after they get the shots. Anyway, we ended up bringing Cohen to the dinner. He was perfect for 3 hours, which is pretty impressive for an almost 5 month old. At the 3 hour mark, he was done. I nursed him in the lobby, then we took him home. What a good little guy.

The rest of the weekend was soo cold (minus 16 without the windchill) that it felt right to stay in and drink hot chocolate and watch netflix the whole time. And today is a snow day! All of Jon's patients cancelled, and Cohen's school visit was cancelled. I can't wait to get out there with our snowshoes.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

a winter walk

We took our little coconut for a morning walk on a snowy morning earlier this week. Cohen's grandpa sent him this cool new red sled, and we were so excited to test it out. Cohen feel asleep before we even got out the door. We propped him up with a few quilts and his stuffed sheep. He was cozy and snug in his little sled. In the last picture, we opened up the top of the sled and the snow fell in, but while the sled was zipped up, Cohen was totally protected from the elements. So sweet.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

1 year ago

I was looking at my iCal from this time last year for whatever reason, and there was a little note on Dec 8th 2012 that said "5th positive pregnancy test". Because I couldn't get in to the doctor for a while after my first drugstore test, I just kept taking tests. I cleaned the drugstore out. All 6 tests I took were positive, of course. A year later we have an almost 5 month old.

I think it's amazing how a perfect Cohen-sized space was made in my life. Before Cohen, my life with Jon felt full and awesome. But now, we would feel so empty and sad without Cohen. He is exactly what we needed, and we didn't even know we needed anything.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

hotel review: sinbad's hotel, gander, NL

we stayed at sinbad's hotel in gander on the weekend. we have stayed at this hotel many, many times over the last 2.5 years. 

price: around $135 per night, which includes breakfast. this is standard for gander.
bathroom: pretty old-looking, nothing fancy. but the water pressure was off-the-charts, which i love
breakfast: complimentary breakfast buffet had hard-boiled eggs, hard old waffles, undercooked bacon, chewy oatmeal, melon from a can, cold cereal. not too good, but the effort was there. i would way rather order off their awesome breakfast menu.
wifi: yes, free, and fast
tv: our new thing is storage wars. so addictive.
pool: nope
location: the best in gander. we were able to bundle cohen up in the stroller in our room, and stroll to the mall across the street really easily.
parking: included, but tight. not easy to find a spot in the evenings.

- the restaurant in the hotel is really good. important to me. i always get the strawberry beef tenderloin
- there is a smoking section. even if you choose a room with no smoking, you do get the smell of smoke in the hallways. they try to disguise it with perfume-y air fresheners, which only makes it worst.
- the bedding was definitely new. very comfy beds.
- the artwork in the room was hilarious. both above-the-bed prints were women looking longingly out the window at teenaged boys. very weird. very '90's.

Monday, 9 December 2013

on the weekend

(lots of green juice these days)

(dude chilling in his exersaucer)

(playing with dad)

(coffee at jumping bean)

(coco entertaining the chef)

We look a little trip to Gander this weekend. We has some errands to run, and we wanted to see a few friends. Cohen is seriously such a good little traveler. He slept the whole drive to Gander while J and I listened to a hilarious This American Life podcast (this one). We stayed at Sinbad's (review to come), and we ate at Bistro.

I was wondering how Cohen would be at Bistro, which is for sure the fanciest restaurant in Gander. People go there for their anniversary and birthday suppers, and so I knew that if Cohen was feeling irritable, the other diners would not appreciate it. I rarely if ever see kids there. But in the end it worked out perfectly. The key: Eat early. We were seated at 5:30, which is way earlier than we usually eat. But it was so great, because we were practically the only ones there (no one to annoy if Cohen cried), and the staff were not busy at all. The owner ended up taking Cohen in back to see the chef, who was able to make Cohen laugh his head off with a little peek a boo. It was so nice. 

The next day we checked out the new coffee shop in Gander, the Jumping Bean. The brownies were amazing, the chocolate chip cookies were not the best, and the blueberry scones were perfect. I would recommend. J and I wish there was a coffee shop in Clarenville.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Back to work after baby: 1 month

(testing out his high chair)

I have been back to work for four weeks now. Some thoughts:

- Leaving Cohen in the morning does not get much easier. Cohen wails as soon as I pass him to the sitter in the morning. I sometimes cry a tiny bit on the drive to work. We always check in with the sitter when we get to work, and Cohen is always fine within 10 minutes. But it's still so hard!

-  Being back at work feels really good. Once I am there and I know Cohen is good, I love doing what I do. I love that I get to talk to people all day. I love that I get to work with my hands and solve problems all day. Very different from being at home with Cohen.

- Pumping is a little tough. I have to get up super early in the morning to pump before work, then I have to pump again mid-morning at work. I am really speedy about it now, though, so it's not too bad.

- I am so glad I only have to work part time. I can't imagine working any more right now. My working days make me so grateful for my home days. I absolutely love being home with Cohen on my home days.

- It feels good to get a paycheck again. Even though it is significantly smaller, I still like knowing that I am contributing to our financial goals.

- I like that another experienced mom takes care of Cohen. It feels so good when we come home from work and the sitter tells us that he is such a good-natured, happy baby. Makes me feel like we are doing a good job.

- Cohen gets cuter while we are at work. I love holding him in my arms after a long day at work. He smiles whenever he sees us now, which is the best feeling ever.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Our baby has a flat head

It's true. I followed all the rules and guidelines. I read the books. We did tummy time. I even learned about flat head at the hospital before we were discharged when Cohen was born. But at his 6 week checkup, Cohen was diagnosed with minor flat head. So now he goes to physiotherapy every few weeks. They take it pretty seriously around here. He will be in physio until his first birthday.

(our little sweetie with his PT)

At physio, she measures Cohen's head, and checks for improvements in the shape of his head. Then she massages his little neck muscles a bit. Then she does exercises with him to make sure his motor skills are developing appropriately, and to strengthen his muscles.

I have to admit, at first I was a little skeptical about the whole physio thing. So I read the studies (OK, just the abstracts and the conclusions), and from what I gather, almost half of all Canadian babies have flat head. It is likely due to the strict rules about putting your baby to sleep on his back to avoid SIDs. And the methods don't seem really great in these studies, but they find that babies with flat head score a few points lower on intelligence tests than their round-headed friends.

Needless to say, I am not worried one little bit. We are doing all Cohen's "homework" from the PT, but I am certain that our little man's head is perfect. If you are interested in what Cohen has to do for homework, see after the jump. Also, I am so curious if babies who live outside Canada are being diagnosed with flat head too.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Things to do in Clarenville: Clarenville coffee house

(he enjoyed himself. i swear)

 (drool face)

We attended the monthly Clarenville coffee house last week. It is the last Thursday of every month. It's held in the basement of a church, but I think the event is totally unconnected to the church. I didn't hear a single bit of gospel. I think the location has more to do with the lack of actual coffee houses in Clarenville.

Anyway, it was cool listening to the musicians. One girl sang a song with her yukele. Another sang christmas songs at the piano. It seemed like most of the acts were novice, which was really nice. You could tell it took some guts for a lot of them to get up onstage. I would guess that it was the first time performing for a crowd for a few of them.

We will definitely be attending this event on the regular. I am even going to try to get J to go up and sing a song.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Cohen's second teaching day

Cohen had to 'teach' again last week. He'll be going every month for the rest of the school year, and I'll probably post photos every time because I am such a proud mama. See his first teaching day here.

(in his uniform)

(saying hello to each student individually)

The theme for this class was crying which worked out well since Cohen had decided he didn't want to nap that day, so he was pretty irritable. He cried, and the students did things to try to make him stop. They had success with waving a noisy toy in front of his face. I'll have to try that at home.

(holding hands with the doll)

Near the end of the class the teacher, who the students call Madame, pulled out a doll to see how Cohen would react. Cohen immediately grabbed the doll's hand, and held on tight to dolly's thumb until they took the doll away. It was basically the cutest thing I ever saw.

The students had to note any changes they saw in Cohen. They all agreed that he was longer and bigger, with longer hair. Very observant. So cute.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A new friend

It's tough making friends as an adult. I'm not the only one, right? I remember this post, which is so good. And it's probably even harder when you move every few years like we do. And being home with a newborn every day? So tough to meet people!!

(Cohen and his new little friend)

Jon and I resolved to each attempt to find a friend in the next month or two. Someone to hang out with maybe once a week. It took me a few months of attending the local breastfeeding club and stopping to chat with every grocery store employee I came across, but eventually I found a friend, a fellow new first-time mom. It's funny how it feels a little like dating. I didn't care about playing hard to get. I asked her to hang out the day after we met. Jon was impressed. Haha. Now we have a standing weekly afternoon coffee date. Also her little baby is adorable. I think in a few months our babies will be bff too.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Cohen update

He is growing so fast. Everyone told me, and it's true. He rolled over last night! We were so excited! We are such parents! We really are loving it. I am getting such a sense that I need to enjoy every single little moment, because right now is the best part of life.

Jon had to go away for a few days for work last week. I think Cohen really noticed, because he freaked out after Jon had been gone for a half hour. It's weird, since Jon goes to work for eight hours every day, but I really think Cohen could tell the difference. Anyway, I took Cohen into our closet and wrapped him in Jon's favourite sweater, and it instantly calmed him.

There is nothing better than hearing Cohen and Jon laughing real, genuine laughs together. I have truly never been happier.

Monday, 25 November 2013

My thoughts on cloth diapers

We have been using cloth diapers since Cohen was a few weeks old. Jon and I have always tried to be relatively green, so we knew we would be using cloth diapers as soon as we knew we were pregnant. I researched all the types of diapers extensively before we finally purchased ours. It is so confusing, really. There are so many different brands and types. I am no expert, but I have had a good experience with cloth diapers so far.

 (Cohen in a flip diaper around 2 months)

We decided to go with the Flip diapers. We ordered them from here because they had free shipping in Canada. I read about a million reviews, and people had good things to say about the simplicity of this system. And the diapers are one-size-fits-all, which seemed better than having to buy a bunch of new diapers every time Cohen grew out of a size.

When Cohen was a newborn, we used disposable diapers for the first few weeks, since we had been gifted a few packs of them, and because Cohen was so tiny when he was born. After Cohen was a few weeks old, I started using the cloth diapers when we were at home. They were still big on him, but we had so many fewer leaks and blowouts compared to disposables. These are some things we like about cloth diapers:

- Less diaper rash. We started to notice diaper rash on Cohen when he was just a few days old. At the same time we started to notice these weird little gel-like granules coming out of the disposable diapers, especially when the diaper was really wet and heavy. When we switched to cloth, the diaper rash went away within a day or two. He hasn't had a bit of diaper rash since.

- Less garbage. I really don't like creating a lot of garbage. I just don't. And when we were using the disposables, we were creating so much garbage!

- Less shopping. I can't tell you how much I dislike going in to Walmart. You can easily buy diapers online now, so this one isn't as huge an issue, but still, I don't have to be shopping for diapers all the time.

- Cheaper. Maybe. I am not really convinced it is that much cheaper, since we also buy disposables for traveling. And we do laundry every single day now. Maybe in the long run it will be cheaper. I think we paid around $400 for our stash of cloth diapers, wet bag, and reusable wipes. The last time I had to buy diapers we were in Twillingate, where a pack of 75 diapers cost me over $30. Steep, I think. And the eco-friendly wet wipes I buy for on-the-go are like $8 for a pack of 80. Also, steep.

(part of our stash)

Other things about cloth diapers:

- The whole laundry thing is really easy while bubba is exclusively breastfed. You just pre-rinse, then wash normally. When Cohen gets into solids we will have to buy one of these diaper sprayers and/or use disposable liners that you can throw in the toilet with solids.We sometimes use funk rock just to keep the diapers really clean.

- We have a really good wet bag that zips, and you can throw the whole thing in the laundry, so you never have to touch the dirty diapers.

- I went all in with the reusable wipes once I saw how easy it would be to just clean them with the diapers. Plus, I don't love the long list of ingredients in most wipes solutions. I mix my own solution every couple days with olive oil, tea tree oil, burt's bees baby wash, and water. There are a ton of wipes solution recipes online. I just chose one with the ingredients we had at home.

- Jon is as big a fan of cloth diapers as I am. I think it probably works better if you are both wanting to do it, like anything really. Our sitter uses them too with no issues.

- Some people switch to disposables at night. I really don't find that necessary yet. Cohen has been sleeping through the night (8 hours straight) since 3 months, and we have never had a problem with leaks with the cloth diapers. If I think of it, I'll switch to an overnight liner, but usually we just use the microfiber liners he wears all the time.

- We have 7 outer shells and about 20 liners. I think having a few more would make laundry a little easier, but this is a perfect number for us. I typically use one disposable a day when we are on the go, then switch to all disposables when we are traveling.

- Writing this out makes me feel like such a hippie! I just want other moms to know that cloth diapers are no big deal. Totally do-able. 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

our new kitchen island

We debated for a long time about what we wanted as an island in our new kitchen. We were really close to choosing a custom island that would exactly match the cabinets in the kitchen, but we opted out due to price ($3500 without electrical to plug in the mixer or blender or whatever), and due to the fact that they were not going to be able to install it for many months because our town is having a crazy housing boom, so the cabinet guys are flat out busy. 

(before we moved in)


(in action)

We found this island at a furniture store in St. John's, and I loved it. Clearly, it has its' cons, like zero storage, and not matching the cabinets. But, I kind of love the way it looks. I sit at that stool all the time while Jon makes supper, and I love the extra counter space. The height is actually better for me for chopping and prepping food. And I think this island was around $900, which is a lot cheaper than a custom island, and we get to take it with us when we move.

We will eventually put a floating shelf to the right of the window for an ipod dock since we are always listening to music. Or we will get a big piece of art to go there. I'd also love a colourful rug, and stools other than the nascar ones I bought at zellers when I was starting dental school. We are really slow about adding things to our house.

Note: This particular island took over 4 months from ordering to delivery, which seemed long to me. It came in three super duper heavy pieces, and assembly involved six extra long thick screws and a bunch of smaller screws. The instructions were in broken english, and were hilarious. It actually just said: 1. screws insert. 2. finished. There was this tiny graphic that was supposed to show the order that the screws had to be placed, but it was extremely difficult to decipher. After quite a bit of tightening over a few weeks, the island feels very solid. If the wood were actual butcher block grade, I would totally be loving that, but as is, I love this island.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Like mother, like son

People say Cohen looks like me. My dad pulled out some old pictures from my baby album and scanned them. In this picture, I am around 7 months old. Cohen is 3 months old here. It's funny, I see that he looks like me, but I really see Jon when I look at Cohen sometimes.
I had the chance to hold a ten day old baby the other day, and I was shocked by how light he was. I figured maybe he has been early and was underweight. When the mom told me he was eight pounds, I was so surprised. Cohen weighed six pounds when he was born. He was so tiny, and I can only barely remember what it felt like to hold a baby that small.

He is changing so much every day. I think about what he looked like on the day he was born, with his huge fluffy black hair and his skin that was way darker than any other baby in the nursery. He is starting to look like a little boy, and I am loving every moment.

Monday, 18 November 2013

things to do in clarenville: rotary trail hike

about a week ago we hiked the rotary trail that starts in the middle on our little town. i really love getting out for a hike with j and coco. sometimes j and i chat while we hike, and other times we are quiet, just enjoying being outside. it's the best. in terms of hiking trails, this one was easy, but not as nice as the bare mountain trail we did a while ago. i would totally recommend all the trails in our town.

Friday, 15 November 2013

my first week back to work

(my two favourite people)

What a week. The night before my first day was hard. I didn't sleep much, and I was so anxious about leaving him that I actually felt sick to my stomach.

When we got to work in the morning, I was so busy that I barely had time to think about Cohen. I pumped halfway through the morning in a corner of our office. I couldn't wait to see his little face at lunchtime. The hardest thing was leaving again after lunch. I just wanted to stay with him. The second hardest thing was the short drive home after work. The car had barely stopped moving before I jumped out. I didn't put Cohen down for the rest of the night.

Our sitter told us that Cohen cried hard for twenty minutes or so in the morning when he realized we were gone. He cried himself to sleep while she rocked him, and then he was fine for the rest of the day. Same for the second day. I could tell he had been crying because he started to cry in the evening and his voice was hoarse. Our sweet little baby with a hoarse cry. Heartbreaking. On the second day, our sitter brought Cohen in to work for a little visit. He was so calm and happy in her arms. It really made me feel so good. And I was so happy to see him. I can't even believe how much I love that little guy.

Note: We never actually found a sitter. We met with lots of potentials, but nothing clicked. Two ladies had cats that were moody. One lady actually told us that her cat "can't be touched or he will lash out". We weren't sure how we would be able to relay that to a baby who will be crawling soon. One lady said she hates changing diapers. One lady didn't look at Cohen once during the entire interview. Another potential seemed perfect, but she suddenly left the province due to "domestic issues." A few said they wanted something full time (I only want to work part time right now). Sooo, our receptionist, who we love, is watching Cohen. She has been visiting Cohen since he was five days old, and she is so warm and loving, and I can tell she loves Cohen. I don't think I could have gone back to work so early if I didn't feel so good about who we are leaving Cohen with.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The end my of maternity leave!

(our little dude and I on Halloween)

It's my first day back to work! I had a knot in my stomach all day yesterday thinking about being away from Cohen for eight hours. I left Cohen and Jon at home for a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday as practice, and to encourage Cohen to take a bottle. I was thrilled to hear that Cohen chugged back a bottle of breast milk each time. He was totally fine. I think maybe it will be harder for me than him.

PS: For the record, my last day of work before Cohen was born was July 13th. Almost exactly four months off, which is double what I had planned to take off. For me, this feels like the perfect time to go back to work. That doesn't mean it won't be easy, though!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Remembrance Day

The three of us are bundling up and heading to the Remembrance Day parade this morning. I grew up in a military family, so this day has always meant standing in the frost, listening to bagpipes, and thinking about the soldiers. This year I have been thinking about the men who are suffering with PTSD. I think sometimes those men and their families fall through the cracks. I think that the victims of war are not just those who suffer fatalities while overseas. Today I am thinking about the soldiers.

Friday, 8 November 2013

it's friday

It's Friday, and this is the last weekend of my "maternity leave." I head back next week, only working half the hours i used to work. Like many, many women, I don't qualify for actual maternity leave since I am technically self employed. I am really looking forward to working again, and I feel grateful that our finances allow for me to be home half the time.

This weekend we plan to go on a hike with the babe. And I need to pull out my scrubs and work stuff. Oh my. Only 8 more weeks until Christmas though!

*Update: Actually only 6 weeks until Christmas! Even better!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

16 weeks old!

our little dude is 16 weeks old today! some things about the last few weeks:

- he is still sleeping through the night. he usually falls asleep around 11 pm, and wakes up at around 6 am. then he nurses, and usually falls asleep in our bed for another half hour. i couldn't ask for a better sleeper.

- i think he has started teething. he spends so much time trying to get his hands in his mouth, and his face is always covered in drool.

- he loves it when we read to him. we've been grabbing huge stacks of baby books from the library every week.

- cohen also loves when j lets him try whatever we are eating. if j is eating a piece of fruit, he'll rub a little on cohen's lips so he can taste it. cohen always looks really confused at first, then thrilled. it's the cutest thing.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Cohen, the teacher

 (here the little girl is testing to see if cohen likes looking at the toy)

Yesterday was Cohen's first day as a "teacher" for this anti-bullying program at the elementary school near our house. The program is called Roots of empathy, and apparently it is popular in lots of other countries.

(the third graders "singing us out" at the end of the session)

It was so cute! Cohen wears a special t-shirt that says "teacher", and he sits on a soft mat in the middle of a class of third graders. They have to ask him permission to play with him, and they ask me questions about him. They asked me things like "can Cohen crawl?" and "what does Cohen eat?" At the end of the class they sing to cohen and each say good bye to him.

You never know how a baby will be with something like this, but he loved the attention, and didn't cry a bit. He was especially interested in a little boy who had pink hair. I am looking forward to going back!

The sweetest thing was when we arrived at the school there were two little boys holding a sign that said "Welcome Cohen and Jessica." Their job was to take us up to their classroom, and they took that job very seriously. One took my diaper bag and threw it over his shoulder, and the other led the way. Such a cool experience!!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Cohen at breakfast

we went out for breakfast on the weekend. we are at this awesome stage with cohen where we can sit him on our lap when we are out. he loves to look around and smile at strangers. i can't believe how fast he is growing!
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